North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in the city of Dalian in China on Monday and left the area Tuesday, according to reports from China’s Xinhau state news agency.
“At a crucial time when the regional situation is developing rapidly, Kim said he came to China again to meet with (Xi) and inform him of the situation,” Xinhau reported.
What was discussed at the meeting?
Kim and Xi chose to meet in Dalian on a peninsula near the North Korean border.
According to reports, Xi hosted a banquet for Kim, “took a stroll” with him, and assured him that China supported the direction that North Korea was taking economically. He also talked with Kim about the future of a denuclearized Korean peninsula.
“In a cordial and friendly atmosphere, the top leaders of the two parties and the two countries had an all-round and in-depth exchange of views,” Xinhau reported.
As might be expected, the U.S. was a topic of the meeting. Chinese media quoted Kim as saying, “I hope to build mutual trust with the U.S. through dialogue.”
Kim also reportedly told Xi that he was committed to denuclearization as long as a “relevant party,” which the Washington Post assumed was the United States, stopped its “hostile policy and security threats” against his country.
Why is this trip important?
China has consistently been one of North Korea's few allies. And it's an ally with formidable military and economic resources.
However, when Kim became the leader of North Korea, the relationship between the two nations soured a bit. Kim removed several of his father’s top-ranking officials who also happened to have close relationships with the Chinese government. They also disagreed about whether or not North Korea should be allowed to develop nuclear weapons, a point that Kim seems to have since come around on.
This is not Kim’s first visit to China. A green and yellow train that arrived in Beijing on March 26 and left the following day was reported to have transported the North Korean dictator. The train, which travelled with an escort of two other trains, resembled the one that Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il, would use to visit the leaders of China and Russia.
While it was widely speculated at the time, the train was later confirmed to have carried Kim. This was Kim's first known trip outside his country since taking power when his father died in 2011.
Shortly after Kim was reported to have arrived in China, President Donald Trump tweeted that he would be having a conversation with President Xi to discuss, among other things, North Korea.